August 15

  

Today's Quotation:

God cannot endure that unfestive, mirthless attitude of ours in which we eat our bread in sorrow, with pretentious, busy haste, or even with shame.  Through our daily meals He is calling us to rejoice, to keep holiday in the midst of our working day.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Today's Meditation:

I've always had an instinctive aversion to that type of religion that calls on us to call ourselves horrible sinners who are deserving of nothing, who are lucky to have anything at all.  No matter what you believe God to be, the idea of a God of unlimited and unconditional love simply does not fit with a God who wants us to hurt ourselves with our own thoughts or actions.  We've been provided with a wonderful world in which to live, and no matter how much other people may try to mess it up for us, the fact is that we've been given many, many gifts.  Among those gifts is the food that we have to eat, and the many people who make their livings by preparing that food to be eaten by us.  They make it tasty and appetizing and interesting, yet food is one of those things that we tend to take for granted because we're exposed to it so often-- several times per day for all of our lives, if we're fortunate.

We can rejoice about the food that we've been given to eat every time we sit down to a meal if we wish to do so.  If we get into the habit of focusing on our gratitude as we sit down, even if we do it quietly to ourselves, the meals themselves take on much greater meaning.  This is no longer a meal, but the taking in of gifts from the planet (fruits, vegetables, meats, liquids) in order to continue to have the energy necessary to live.  Isn't that something to rejoice about, something to celebrate?

Celebration doesn't have to consist of highly visible expressions of delight-- celebrations can be a very real part of our own inner lives, and we face a great danger if we don't practice celebrating as we make our ways through this world.  If we become morose, unhappy, mirthless people, our lives naturally will take on those qualities, and we'll be causing our own lack of happiness if we don't "keep holiday" each day of our lives.

Enjoy your meal.  Savor every bite, every morsel.  Be glad of it, and appreciate it.  Recognize the miracle that it is-- the result of tiny seeds that become plants through the actions of soil and water and sunshine, which then are harvested and eaten or fed to animals to provide us with meat.  Our lives will become deeper and richer the more we celebrate all there is to celebrate, for then we come closer to the sources of everything there is.

Questions to ponder:

1.  How many different things have to happen for us to have a hamburger?  A salad?  A milkshake or a piece of cheese or a yogurt?

2.  When was the last time you truly celebrated, even to yourself, for something as commonplace as a meal?

3.  How can our lives become richer through regular celebration?

For further thought:

You say grace before meals.  All right.  But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and the pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing, and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.

G. K. Chesterton

more thoughts and ideas on gratitude

  

   

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